China: Expats and Millionaires Are Leaving

“Although China hasn’t released any updated numbers, the country’s pre-pandemic census suggests that some had begun to leave even before the Covid crackdown.”

National Review | by Veronique De Rugy | September 1, 2023

Andrew Stuttaford had a post last night on international investors bailing out of Chinese securities.

This morning on Persuasion, Blake Stone-Banks has a piece about the expats also leaving China. The writer, one of those expats who left in 2022, had moved to China as a student in 2000 and stayed. Here is a tidbit:

Although China hasn’t released any updated numbers, the country’s pre-pandemic census suggests that some had begun to leave even before the Covid crackdown. From 2010 to 2020, Shanghai’s expat population dropped from 208,000 to 163,000. A survey by the European Chamber of Commerce in April 2022 found that 85 percent of foreigners living in China said the lockdown had made them rethink their futures in the country. And before I left, I would frequently walk around formerly expat-rich districts like Shanghai’s French Concession or Beijing’s Sanlitun and be the only foreigner on the street.

China’s expat exodus is occurring during a precarious time for the country: In 2022, China’s total population decreased by more than 800,000 — the first population decline in more than sixty years. Now that the failed zero-Covid policies have been lifted, China is desperately looking to win back both foreign investment and foreign professionals. But the question remains if foreigners will return, and what the lives they lead in post-Covid China will look like.

CNBC had a story back in June about high-net-worth individuals also leaving the country:

According to a report by investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners, China is expected to lose the largest number of dollar millionaires this year due to migration, when compared to any other country.

Data from the firm showed that a net 10,800 high-net-worth individuals migrated out of China in 2022, and another net 13,500 are expected to leave this year.

This is not an issue that started with the coronavirus pandemic, and has been going on for the last 10 years.

If I were an expat or a millionaire, I wouldn’t want to stay in China either.

CNBC story below.


China to see the world’s biggest millionaire exodus this year, new study shows

CNBC | by Charmaine Jacob | June 15, 2023

KEY POINTS

  • Data showed that a net 10,800 high-net-worth individuals migrated out of China in 2022, and another net 13,500 are expected to leave this year. 
  • This is not an issue that started with during the coronavirus pandemic, however, and has been going on for the last 10 years. 
  • Australia could outrank the United Arab Emirates this year in welcoming the highest net number of millionaires this year. 

China, with the world’s second-largest economy and the second-highest population, will again see the biggest exodus of millionaires this year, according to new research. 

According to a report by investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners, China is expected to lose the largest number of dollar millionaires this year due to migration, when compared to any other country. 

Data from the firm showed that a net 10,800 high-net-worth individuals migrated out of China in 2022, and another net 13,500 are expected to leave this year. 

This is not an issue that started with the coronavirus pandemic, and has been going on for the last 10 years. China has seen the biggest departure of millionaires each year for the past decade, causing general wealth growth in the country to slow down, Andrew Amoils, head of research at global wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth which helped create the report, said in an accompanying statement.

“The recent outflows could be more damaging than usual. China’s economy grew strongly from 2000 to 2017, but wealth and millionaire growth in the country has been negligible since then (when measured in U.S.-dollar terms).” 

Other big losers 

Second to China, Henley & Partners forecasts India to lose a net 6,500 millionaires this year, a net 1,000 decrease from the millionaires that left the country in 2022. 

“Prohibitive tax legislation coupled with convoluted, complex rules relating to outbound remittances that are open to misinterpretation and abuse, are but a few issues that have triggered the trend of investment migration from India,” said Sunita Singh-Dalal, partner of private wealth and family offices at law firm Hourani, in the same report. 

However, Amoils highlighted that these outflows should not be a matter of concern since “India produces far more new millionaires than it loses to migration.” 

Other Asian nations are expected to see millionaires leave their countries too. 

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Hong Kong is expected to lose a net 1,000 millionaires this year, and South Korea and Japan could lose 800 and 300, respectively. Reports suggest residents of Hong Kong left the city in droves last year — due to Covid-19 restrictions and what they see as an erosion of democratic norms. 

Despite political unrest and economic uncertainty from Moscow’s war on Ukraine, Russia is only expected to lose a net 3,000 millionaires this year, a sharp decline from 8,500 in 2022. 

Russia takes fourth place in Henley & Partners’ ranking, after the United Kingdom which could lose a net 3,200 millionaires this year, double than what it lost the year before. 

“Brexit has made the UK less hospitable and welcoming to high-net-worth individuals. It’s now harder for them to move between the UK and EU countries,” Trevor Williams, visiting professor at the University of Derby and former chief economist at Lloyds Bank Commercial said in the report.

“Evidence shows that the UK’s share of inward investment into Europe has declined since it left the EU, with Germany and France benefiting.”  

Eyes set on these countries

Australia could outrank the United Arab Emirates this year in welcoming the highest net number of millionaires this year. Australia is expected to see an influx of a net 5,200 millionaires, while the UAE comes in second with 4,500. Singapore ranks third and could see a net 3,200 millionaires setting up homes in the city-state. 

Western nations, as a whole, remain an attractive destination for millionaires, according to the research, with the U.S. (2,100), Switzerland (1,800), and Canada (1,600) all clinching spots in the top 10. 

“There’s been a steady growth in millionaire migration over the past decade, with global figures for 2023 and 2024 expected to be 122,000 and 128,000, respectively,” Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, said.

Source: China to see the world’s biggest millionaire exodus this year, study shows (cnbc.com)


Source: China: Expats and Millionaires Are Leaving | National Review

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